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October 1 – New MSU Denver Bird Talk podcast episode
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More MSU Denver students will gain career-readiness training thanks to recent gift

A female student talks with a female businesswoman

by Lynne Winter

$1.5 million donation from the Morgridge Family Foundation supports construction and expansion of the University’s C2 Hub.

The Classroom to Career Hub (C2 Hub) at Metropolitan State University of Denver received a financial contribution from the Morgridge Family Foundation this month that will help take the program to new heights.

The $1.5 million gift will support the planned construction of a four-story, 25,000-square-foot space that would allow the C2 Hub to better serve the career development of approximately 17,000 MSU Denver students and 11,000 Community College of Denver students annually.

By engaging students, faculty members and industry partners to design and implement career-readiness programs and services, the C2 Hub produces the skilled talent Colorado employers need.

At the Oct. 6 event announcing the gift, President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., said one of the University’s goals has been “to create an innovative national model that would connect students with employers, not at the end of their degree program but from the moment they set foot on campus.”

“We’re going to transform Colorado and students’ lives through the opportunity to work and achieve their highest potential,” she said.

The C2 Hub integrates career activities throughout the student experience. Students are encouraged to explore career pathways, experience real-world, relevant work and develop their professional networks through the meaningful connections built between the University and industry partners.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston acknowledged that some MSU Denver students might not have time to build their network for their post-college careers, including those who are first-generation, work full-time and/or care for families.

“It’s all the more important to make sure these incredibly talented people have connections to those career opportunities early on,” he said. “We want to make sure the awesome talent on this campus is connected to the incredible business leaders in this community. … This (C2 Hub) is the vision to make that possible.”

In recognition of the gift, the peer-mentoring program, a flagship student-support system within the C2 Hub, will be renamed the Morgridge Peer Mentoring Program. Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs at MSU Denver, said the program not only provides important employment opportunities for students on campus but also supports “hundreds, and yes, thousands, of other first-year students with the resources and support they need to be successful in their journey.”

One such student is Logan Endley, a first-generation student majoring in Chemistry, minoring in Criminal Justice and Criminology and pursuing a career as a forensic examiner. Through the C2 Hub, Endley, who uses they/them pronouns, learned how to create connections and apply for jobs and internships, grew in professionalism and gained confidence that they are “worthy of a second interview.” That knowledge and growth led to a coveted summer internship with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“I don’t think I would have that confidence without the people who work alongside and support me,” said Endley, who plans to graduate next spring. “I’m thankful to the Morgridge family for allowing our (C2 Hub) to create a larger impact.”

Carrie Morgridge, co-founder of the Morgridge Family Foundation with her husband, John, said that they appreciate the University’s ethos of making career-focused higher education accessible to anyone interested in earning a degree, regardless of location. “If you can’t get to MSU Denver, we’re going to come to you,” she said.

The Morgridges also expressed appreciation that MSU Denver’s leaders help communities, families and corporations succeed.

“I can’t wait until we get to go into the (new) C2 Hub and hear from students about how they were placed in jobs,” Morgridge said. “Thank you for allowing us to do what we do. It’s such a great honor.”